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Jeb Bush presidential campaign, 2016


Jeb Bush presidential campaign, 2016

Jeb 2016, Inc.
Jeb Bush 2016 campaign logo (transparent)
Campaign U.S. presidential election, 2016
Candidate Jeb Bush
Governor of Florida (1999-2007)
Affiliation Republican Party
Status Announced: June 15, 2015
Headquarters P.O. Box 440641
Miami, Florida
Key people Danny Diaz (campaign manager)
David Kochel (chief strategist)
Jon Downs (media strategist)
Tim Miller (communications director)
Receipts US$24,814,729 (2015-09-30[1]
US$103,000,000 (approx.) (Right to Rise PAC)[2])
Slogan #AllInForJeb
Chant Jeb!
This article is part of a series

Jeb Bush
  • Campaign for the Presidency

  • Governor of Florida

  • Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution

The 2016 presidential campaign of John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, the 43rd Governor of Florida, was formally launched on June 15, 2015,[3] coming six months after announcing the formal exploration of a candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for the President of the United States on December 16, 2014, and the formation of his Right to Rise PAC.


Governor Jeb Bush (R) with his father and brother, Presidents George H.W. (L) and George W. Bush (C) in 2006

In 1994, Bush was the Republican nominee for Governor of Florida, losing narrowly to the incumbent Lawton Chiles. Four years later, in 1998, Bush ran again, defeating Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay (incumbent Governor Lawton Chiles would die in early December 1998, so although defeating McKay, Bush would succeed McKay who ascended upon Chiles' death). He was reelected in 2002 by a sizeable margin.

The son of 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States, respectively, Jeb Bush would be, if elected, the first brother of a President, and his father, George H.W. Bush, would be the first President to have two sons hold the same office.

There has been speculation that Bush would make a run for President since the end of the 2012 election. Speculation was fueled when Bush announced he would be "actively exploring" a run for President on December 16, 2014 and resigned from several corporate boards.[4][5] It has been further speculated that Bush has put off formally announcing a candidacy in order to raise unlimited amounts of money for his Right to Rise Super PAC, and prepare strategy; once formally a candidate, Bush cannot coordinate with PACs or Super PACs under campaign finance law.[6]

Exploration of a candidacy

Jeb Bush speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2015.

On December 16, 2014, Bush announced the formation of The Right to Rise PAC, a Super PAC intended to serve as an exploratory committee and fundraising mechanism for a potential candidacy. While not formally a candidate, he was the first potential contender to make any major moves toward the beginning of the 2016 election cycle. Widely seen as the 'establishment' candidate, Bush was expected to court and win donors who were central to the 2012 presidential election on the Republican side. While having repeatedly said he wouldn't run again, 2012 nominee Governor Mitt Romney told donors in early January 2015 that he was seriously considering another run. With early polling showing significant buyer's remorse among many who voted for President Obama in 2012, and showing that he would defeat Hillary Clinton, Romney likely saw it necessary to see if he could tap into his donor base again, to which Bush was the likely successor.[7] After several weeks' consideration, Romney chose against running again, after receiving criticism from many in his own party who wanted a fresher face, and having lost many staff who joined Bush's team before Romney reconsidered.[8] With Romney conclusively out of the race, Bush was seen as the likely front runner for the nomination.[9]

In February 2015, Bush preemptively released his official emails from his time as Governor of Florida, which came with some controversy as personal information, which was soon redacted, was included in the release.[10]

By extending the 'exploration mode' of his 'potential candidacy' to a six-month period (his scheduled announcement one day short of six months after his exploratory phase), Bush has used his time to get acquainted with the press, court donors, and prepare strategy. In doing this, he gets around several campaign finance laws which limit donations which persons may make to individual's campaigns, and which prohibit Super PACs from directly coordinating with candidates' campaigns.[11] By May 2015, it was roughly estimated that Bush had raised in excess of $100 million for his Right to Rise PAC, which is expected to exceed his challengers in the Republican field.

One of the largest issues expected to face Governor Bush is the unpopular image of his brother, President George W. Bush, as well as many who say they do not wish to see a third Bush in the presidency. Governor Bush has come out saying "I'm my own man" with regard to his policies and vision, and further saying "I love my mom and dad. I love my brother, and people are just going to have to get over that."[12] Governor Bush has publicly stated that his brother is his 'top foreign policy advisor', having learned from his brother's presidency about "protecting the homeland" and that his brother "kept us safe."[13][14]

Bush appeared as Bob Schieffer's final interview guest on Face the Nation during his retirement episode.[15]

The Kelly File Interview

In an interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly, which aired on The Kelly File on May 11, Bush was questioned on a wide variety of topics, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Asked by Kelly:[16]

Kelly: "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?"
Bush: "I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got."
Kelly: "You don't think it was a mistake?"
Bush: "In retrospect, the intelligence that everybody saw, that the world saw, not just the United States, was, um, faulty, and in retrospect, once we, once we, um, invaded, and took out

Bush's answer to the question implying whether or not his brother, the President, made a mistake, generated a large amount of controversy on both Republican and Democratic sides. Those who blasted Bush for his answer criticized the fact that he answered the question he wanted to answer, not the one he heard.[17] The following day, in a radio interview with Fox News' CNN's Jake Tapper, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took the opportunity to say "We need a foward [sic]-looking foreign policy that talks about how to reassert American authority and influence around the world," he told Tapper. "...but I want to directly answer your question, because that's what I do," and Texas Senator Ted Cruz also clarified he wouldn't have invaded Iraq.[18]

By the week's end, May 15, Bush backed off his original statements, saying definitively, “knowing what we know now I would not have engaged—I would not have gone into Iraq.”[19]

Announcement and preliminary campaign

Bush speaks to voters in Hudson, New Hampshire on July 8, 2015
Jeb Bush for Governor (1994)
(1994, 1998, & 2002)
Jeb! 2016

On June 4, the same day of Governor Rick Perry's formal campaign announcement, an anonymous Bush staffer leaked that Bush would formally announce his candidacy on June 15. Bush made a trip to Germany, Poland, and Estonia before returning to begin his campaign.[20] On June 15, 2015, Bush formally announced his candidacy at Miami Dade College's Kendall Campus, in Miami, Florida.[21]

In a branding decision, the Bush campaign unveiled a logo featuring his name with an exclamation mark that conspicuously left out the Bush surname.[22][23] However, the logo is a variation of the campaign logo used since his first race for governor in 1994.[24]

Bush embarked on a tour following his June 15 announcement, with stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.[25] The Bush campaign cancelled events in Charleston, South Carolina in light of the June 17 mass shooting.[26]

On August 11, Bush gave a major foreign policy speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, outlining his positions on Middle Eastern issues.[27]


On July 9, 2015, at a campaign fund-raising conference in the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush announced that super PACs which support his candidacy, mainly Right to Rise, had received a total of $103 million during the previous six months.[28] The campaign itself had received $11.4 million, $700,000 a day, during its first two weeks.[29]

Policy positions


See also


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